journal entry ...September 11, 1990

I'm starting to feel resentful of SO again. It seems like I'm always stuck home with the kids and he's off and about. His job hours make it nearly impossible for me to do anything like take classes or even swim. He's gone 3 or more nights a week plus Saturdays. He's home Mondays but that does me no good. I'm babysitting Mondays. I need some time to do things besides watch children all of the time. I'm alphabetted and counted out!!

H took her diaper off again today. "Toots" was smooshed all over the carpet (UGH!)

It was still a beautiful day. The kids and I took a walk up to the heights so they could play with Gramma

journal entry ..September 11, 1991

We went to 2 musters this weekend, Windsor and Marlborough. Very busy busy. H had her first dance class. She loves it! D started Kindergarten last Wednesday. He certainly has more confidence in himself. All weekend he kept TAKING OFF to be with his friends without telling us! He kept me on my toes.

I'm feeling tense today. D & T have been constantly bickering and A seems to be crying every 5 minutes today. I just want to be left alone for a little while. It's almost 5:30 and Dana's mom still hasn't picked her up. Late again. Grrrrr. I would dearly love to take a bath and go to bed early tonight but I doubt I'll be able to. Joanne is going to be here until 10:00 though I REALLY don't feel like playing hostess tonight. I have to get up before 5:30am to start the daycare day. I think next year I am going to have to be FIRMER on my hours. 7-5 period. This lack of sleep is taking it's toll on me. Or it could be PMS.

journal entry ...September 11, 1992

This morning we caught mouse#15. It's been 3 weeks free of mice. I'm hoping this is the last one.

D caught poison ivy on his "schnaki". He wasn't very happy about it. (and WHO would be?!)

Our vacation in the White Mountains was fun, busy but fun. I think we've developed a sense of humor about rain and our vacations. A rain cloud is always following us! At least THIS year a hurricane didn't blow us away like our last beach camping trip.

We may be moving to Washington state or Colorado next year if SO gets transferred at work. I don't think his boss can cut back much more and still keep SO's job full time. The economy in this state is lousy! We should probably get out while the getting's good!

journal entry ...September 11, 1993

Christine's law number 37...

Invariably, a toddler's diaper will burst open and explode into a mess the size of which is dependent upon the lightness of the carpet that has just been shampooed.

Also, the more desperately you need an appliance, the more likely it is going to break exactly at the moment you need it most

Also, A three year old will need a kiss in direct proportion to the severity of a cold and the scarcity of a box of kleenex

journal entry ...September 11, 1996

HUMP DAY!!!! Friday is almost here. Woohoo! Daycare is getting tiring. I must be approaching burnout. I'm so tired of waking up so early. So tired of playing catch-up with cleaning up after the kids or repairing broken things. I'm tired of SO the MasterProcrastinator putting off things. I'm tired of being tied down to the house for long periods of time and not being able to GO anywhere and do more of the things that I like to do. Time for a career change soon. The kids are getting old enough. And also...I want SO to start appreciating me and to stop taking me for granted and leaving me to take care of everything. I want some of the fire back. A passle full of wants these days. Why am I so restless?

journal entry ...September 11, 1999

ALL RIGHT! THAT IS IT!! Time to take control of this...and dive into the lake of ME! The past year has been an eyeopener for me. I started surfing the "net" this past spring as a way of finding Backstreet Boy tickets for A. I found a chat room and started talking to strangers. OMG! actual conversation with people that were over 10!!!

SO isn't around as per usual. I'm feeling neglected, taken for granted, lonely, go ahead self, name something, cause you're feeling it! Daycare is not a particularly social career. Yes for the kids, not for the caregiver. It felt nice talking to people with some similar ideas. Talking about nothing at all. Kind of like sitting around the picnic table playing cards throwing peanuts at each other, being silly.

I have been a "make-do" woman for so long it seems. Even when I was younger, hard to explain. "Make-do" with what life chucks at you. I am searching for something..perhaps insights into myself. Could be a midlife crisis thing. Who knows? I do know that I'm starting to put myself FIRST in my life. About time, I've been taking the last poll position since forever! It's a good feeling. I'm positive when I've shaken this restlessness and am content/happy with myself it will spill over onto everyone else that I love. Maybe the spark will come back between SO and I. Maybe he'll start to see me for who I really am and not just someone who cares for his kids and keeps his house. Today I grab myself by the reins. "let's go!".

journal entry ...September 11, 2000

I don't know what date it is anymore. The days all blend together. We're MOVING! On our way to California! Wooooo-hoooo! The trip so far has been good, no major mishaps yet. *knock on wood*. SO did run into a big plastic barrel on the highway and ripped off our trailering mirror. No biggie. We'll just get a new one. Our car phone cut out on us in western Pennsylvania, this being an annoyance. I don't love being out of touch. First day of driving nothing special. We've already seen just about every highway in CT, NY, NJ, and Penn.

We stopped at Hershey, PA and took a tour through the chocolate factory. They also nabbed the kids to do a taste test. AS IF they would say no to free chocolate. *grins* At the start of our journey we all guessed what the odometer would read at the end of our trip. We wrote down the guesses (some of us taking into account SO's penchant for "taking the scenic route" (aka getting lost). And bought a jar of hershey minibars to sit out teasing us until the end for the winner.

Today we tried to reach the Indianapolis speedway before it closed. The males of the group wanting to see that. H and I were quietly ecstatic we arrived an hour after closing.

journal entry ...September 11, 2001

Against my will it is seeping into me, this information.

Woke up to the sound of a thousand voices crying out in despair.
Woke up to the vision of a black flag pouring out of twin mountains.
Woke up to a feeling of numbness spreading through my body.
Woke up to a bitter taste in my mouth.
Woke up to a deep sadness of what man will to do man.
All in the name of .....what?

Woke up
and then I cried.

I was told to report to work today, the busses were still running, the mall was still open. SO was being sent home early from work so he would be home with the kids when they got home from school, so I went. I felt being busy would maybe distract me from the deep sadness I was feeling at the disaster, the sickening churning in my stomach over the images I had witnessed on the TV screen.

The place was almost deserted. A few people in to shop. Mostly those that were home alone and didn't want to be. Those that needed contact from somebody, anybody. The few customers that came in just shook their heads, talked of sadness, bought a few things, but mostly just talked.

Most of the stores were closed in the mall. Only the big three were open, not willing to close because the others were open. *shakes head* always the competition. It was too quiet. Lunch time came and I walked out to the food court. half the stores were closed, the others in the process of closing. Not too many people eating anyway. Only a few stragglers gathered around the tables. An old woman with tears in her eyes, a young man with his arm around her looking out with sightless eyes.

I walked out into the town center. The carosel was running, a few children eyes sparkling, laughing as they spun round and round. The mothers trying to put on happy faces, shielding the youngsters from the pain. The youngsters still had their innocence. They were too young to know. My own, they knew. They are scared. "how could this happen?" "Where is the good in that mommy? I thought there was good in everyone?" questions I can't answer. I called home just to hear their voices. My children. "I love you" "love you too mommy" the comfort of the "who loves who more" game. They were home watching some more. "turn off the TV" I said. "We've watched all day at school" "What's going to happen now?" another question I can't answer. Fear in her voice. "write something" I say. "write a letter to get your feelings out" they are aware of the cruelties of life now. Innocence lost. I cry for the children, not just mine. For the ones that will come home tonight without parents and the ones who no longer feel safe in their own country, their own homes.

I go to the retro burger place. Johnny Rockets. Only a bar seat has a customer. Empty. I order a burger and fries, stick nickels in the jukebox and listen to oldies. I eat untasting only half. not really hungry just going through the motions.

A man approached me as I left the joint. The minute I walked out of the place, as if he had been waiting for me to hurry up and finish.

Him:"It's like a morgue around here today. Is it because of what happened this morning?"
Me:"yep, too quiet"
Him:"Do you think it's because people are afraid to go out? Or maybe is it because they just want to hang around their TV watching with morbid curiosity?"

So he questions the people. There is a little voyerism in all of us I think, but I don't say so. I just say that maybe they are in shock, want to know what happens next. Then I walk into the book store that is still open, he following me. I go straight to the photography section. I need something to distract me for a bit, something to say there is more than this, life is good. something to restore my faith in humankind.

I find the "Ansel Adams: Letters" I have been waiting for. I hold it close to me. For a few minutes I can take myself away for a breather. I can go to another time and look through another's eyes. "The more of beauty in the mind, the more of peace in the spirit" he writes. peace, yes, that is what I am looking for. This man feels it in the grandeur and beauty of nature.

It is enough to get me through work. We close early, finally. All the mall is closed but the big three. the MALL decides enough, go home. I am relieved. I go home and hold my children close. Life is short, show love for all it's worth. Keep it close for that is what will get us through.

journal entry ...September 11, 2002

7:00 am the fog is dense, thick around me muffling my footbeats. Cold damp upon my shoulders. I continue running not seeing what is before me. I go forward anyway, keeping pace with Time, knowing that when I am close enough I'll be able to sidestep any obstacles at the last minute. I settle into my rhythm-my thoughts detached from my body, runs its own course moving backwards with an eye to the future.

A "caw" pierces the dampened blanket drawing my attention up. A crow perches atop the roof of a dilapitated tobacco barn. I recognize this barn seeing as it is and as it was simultaneously. Moss covered aged blue grey planks are cracked and worn, yet dignified. Ivy curls up along the outside in and around crannies of decay. New life built upon old. Yet inside I hear the ghosts of activity where a younger me raced a friend laughing while we worked in a contest of speed and accuracy sewing tobacco leaves (a female job). The male hangers chucked pieces of tobacco stems at our helmets from above to distract us, their way of flirting. Those days I lived in the now.

The crow fixes its gaze upon me and I am struck by the symbolism. Everything is symbol and metaphor. Is he a messenger to remind me of new beginnings? Does he foresee the future, dropping me hints? Pay attention to me, he says. He is a solitary figure living on another plane. He speaks to me of strength. Lend me some, I ask.

7:30 the fog is thinning. Feet are silent on the soft dirt road, rhythm still strong. I pass an old rusty trunk. A handwritten sign leans up against it saying "bought, sold, refurbished, inquire within". What ghosts does this box hold? I am briefly tempted to inquire of this anonymous person...Do your skills translate well into personal revamping? I would like my hinges shined and my planks smoothed and glossed. No lock necessary please.

Renovations continue at my parents' home. Today it's the carpet. Activity has jostled this place since my arrival. Living back home again has brought its own brand of chaos. Hammers pounding, saws whirring, painters underfoot. Yesterday it was the shade people, "help me pick one, mother says", I tell her pick one that lets the light in, warm and diffusing, not one blocking it out, cold and dark. Today the new carpet arrives. More hammering, chaos underfoot. It's almost done. A friend comments how apropos it is that this organized confusion occurs in tandem with my own reconstruction. Metaphors abound

My own little world of upheaval enveloped by the macrocosm of global events. "It's nine eleven" hushed reverent whisper from my daughter. She is decked out in red/white/and blue to show patriotism. She is swept along on the current of solidarity. I can only hope to balance out the onesided stories she is fed. Of course it is biased. "This is our country. They did this to US." She needs to know that there are always two sides. People don't accept kamikaze missions without strong belief. I simplify things by saying it's a clash of cultures. I want her to look on humankind as a whole and not in fractured parts, though we are a fractured people.

She drew a picture of her hand, an outline. within this outline there is a flag unfurling. It is in four pieces, disconnected and connected by her fingers. The twin buildings, a number eleven, rise up from the clouds of her palm. The Statue of Liberty is in the foreground of her thumb, flame burning bright. Words at the base of her index finger...

"It is the experience of touching the pain
of others that is the key to change...
Compassion is a sign of transformation."

She has her fingers on the pulse of humanity barely grasping it at fourteen. The eleven of the twins speaks of transition and conflict. A focal point of inversion and antithesis. I see this, she sees something else. As a whole, America has lost her false sense of security, much as my own children have lost theirs this year with our separation. We are a family fractured. The walls came a tumbling down, fragmentation, destruction, and disintergration. Buildings collapse, relationships collapse. We are fractured, not whole, yet she draws these buildings as they were, untouched."There is always hope, Mom" I smile at her positive attitude.

So this is a vehicle of rebirth, rising from the ashes. Compassion bringing about change. There is always hope. And they all swirl together, the macro, the micro, and the metaphor. Time continues unconcerned of our trying tussles. No profound meanings here. It means everything and nothing. Merely a series of images,thoughts and points in time connected together apparently haphazardly. A woman trying to make sense of it all. And an artist holding out her hand to the future. Life goes on. What we do with that life given us is the key.

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